Realities Created, Maintained and Destroyed, WHILE-U-WAIT!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Slicing Time Part Three (Breathing is Very Important)

I have to admit that I am downright excited to know that people fine this sort of thing interesting. So here is a bit more on the subject.

As I mentioned in my last entry on this subject, the way to learn to slice time thinly is to integrate breath, structure and movement. I can't stress enough how important this is. Without this integration the best anyone can ever hope for is to be good. But someone who achieves mastery in their art (any art that requires you to move) will have made this

The fellow I mentioned in my first article on this subject is a case in point. In the time I knew him (something like ten years) he grew quantitatively, that is to say he added techniques and drills to his skill set, but he never grew qualitatively, his quality of movement was fundamentally the same from the first time I met him to the last time I saw him, about four years ago.

This was because he never addressed the chronic tension he (like everyone else) carries, and that inhibited the
integration of his breath movement and alignment. So he added new movements, but overall the quality of his movement never improved.

So how do you
integrate breath, structure and movement and improve the quality of your movement? (This is a question not just for martial artists, but for anyone who moves their body for any reason)

There are several ways, but with my students I have found that in most cases you can start with breath and get very good results.

You have to understand a few things about breath though, to accomplish anything.

First, the lungs are a passive organ, they don't "do" anything, they can't, having no way to move.

The lungs are worked through your movement. If you had no residual muscle tension your breath would bee seen a a wave movement that moved through the whole body.

By the way,
residual muscle tension is the amount of tension you carry beyond what your muscles need to keep you balanced against gravity. It distorts your body from its intended form and impedes your breath.

Most people, because of this
residual muscle tension have dysfunctional breathing patterns which must be addressed in order to integrate breath, structure and movement.

I would go so far as to say that breathing is a specific form of movement.

I often think of the breath as the fundamental note of a musical scale. If the body is integrated then all other movements are natural expressions of that scale and are in harmony with the "tonic" note of the breath.

There is, to my knowledge, only one "style" of breathing that fosters this integration, it has a lot of different names in the various cultures that have noticed its importance, but I usually refer to it a performance breathing after the term coined by Scott Sonnon.

How do you learn this? Obviously, if you can get into contact with someone who can teach you directly, that would be best.

In lieu of that, there are a couple of good instructional videos on the market.

My favorite is one called "The Five Minute miracle", and it is done by my buddy Steve Barnes (if you have been keeping up with the articles here you know it's Steve's fault you are reading this at all).

The Five Minute Miracle is good because it is organized in such a way that anyone, regardless of their fitness level, can use it, and it takes very little time out of your day to practice. As a matter of fact, once you learn the skills of performance breathing you can practice it while doing other things, anything that requires that you breathe while you are doing it.

More on this later.

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